Simplified Studio Lighting

Our typical lighting scheme consists of three strobe lights with a forth strobe “hair light” used as needed. First, the key light is the main light source in the lighting scheme and is used to contour the face and add depth and interest to the subject. The key light is what enables the three dimensional subject to be rendered in a two dimensional plane, yet perceived as a three dimensional image. The key light in our studio’s light setup is mounted on a Studio Titan Side Kick stand. The beauty of this stand is that it is very stable, has lockable casters so it is easily repositioned, and the height of the key light is very easily adjustable with the “single touch” adjustable arm. The key light is usually the only strobe in our setup that is repositioned during the course of a photo shoot.

The key light is modified using a parabolic reflector, a shoot through umbrella or a reflecting umbrella, a soft box (several sizes may be used), or by other means, thereby achieving in each portrait the desired effect. A guideline to remember is: at a given distance between light source and subject, the smaller the light source, the harsher the incident light and the sharper (more contrast) the shadows. Choose the modifier accordingly to achieve the desired effect for your portrait (i.e. light modifiers in order of decreasing contrast: 6” parabolic reflector, 16” parabolic reflector, 40” reflecting umbrella, 40” shoot through umbrella, 3’x4’ softbox, 4’x6’ softbox). The key light is then metered (independently) to f11. This may be accomplished by adjusting the power to the strobe, and/or the distance between key light and subject.

During the photo shoot, the illumination of the subject will remain constant when you reposition the key light, as long as the distance between the key light and the subject remains constant. This simple fact is useful to keep in mind for one reason. It enables you to quickly relocate your key light for different desired effects without re-metering everything. Visualize your subject being at the hub of a wheel, the radius of the wheel being equal to the distance (between the key light and your subject) that gave you f11. The key light may be relocated to any position around the perimeter of the imaginary wheel, with the illumination on your subject remaining a constant f11.

Second, the fill light serves as contrast control by filling in the “sockets and pockets” of your subject. The fill light in our light set up is permanently positioned about 15 feet from the subject, directly out in front of the set. It is elevated to a height of about ten to eleven feet above the floor, so we are able to shoot from directly underneath the fill light if necessary. The fill light is diffused by a large soft box, and oriented (angled) to directly face the subject. It is typically metered (independently) to f5.6, by adjusting the power to the strobe. This gives a light ratio on your subject of about 1:4.

The third strobe in our studio light setup serves as the background light. The background light may be mounted on a short stand positioned directly behind the subject, and angled upward to illuminate the backdrop and eliminate any shadows behind the subject. Positioning the subject at least six feet from the background also helps to eliminate shadows on the background. For a vignette effect on a low key back ground use a small parabolic reflector and possibly a grid spot or barn doors to direct and focus the light where you want it. For a more evenly lit mid key backdrop substitute a soft box strip mounted on a boom stand, high and angled downward and toward the back drop. Typically for low key to mid key portraits we meter the background light to f5.6 or f8. This is a matter of preference depending on the desired effect. You can easily create elegant low to mid key portraits [http://www.hayleybarnesphoto.com/Gallery_1.html] using this setup.

For super hi key shots, to get the snow white seamless background look, you must overexpose the background relative to the subject by two stops. For example [http://www.hayleybarnesphoto.com/Gallery_3.html], if you meter your key to f8 you should meter the background to f16 to achieve the desired effect. The trick is to get your subject far enough out from the background so they don’t pick up too much reflected light and you are able to blow out the background while maintaining proper exposure on your subject. The fill is still metered one or two stops below the key to maintain a nice contrast ratio on your subject. Super hi key portraits may best be accomplished using two background lights, angled in on each side of the background. This gives a more evenly distributed background light.

The forth strobe often used in our studio light setup, is the hair light. It is used to separate the subject from the background and to accentuate the subject’s hair and shoulders. The hair light may be positioned low or high behind the subject depending on the desired effect, and modifiers such as a snoot or a grid spot may be used to direct and focus the light as desired. Whether or not the hair light is used depends on the subject’s hair color relative to the backdrop and on the desired effect for the portrait (e.g. dark hair disappears on a dark backdrop and requires the hair light as a separator)

Beyond posing your subject in a flattering way, lighting your subject is the single greatest skill you must master in order to create exceptional portraiture. Your lighting scheme does not have to be overly complex, and your equipment need not be the latest and greatest. However, you must develop a basic understanding of light contrast ratio and how to control the light, in order to masterfully create elegant and beautiful portraits. The lighting setup described above may be a good starting point. It is very simple to understand and easy to use, generally, only the key light is repositioned during the course of a photo shoot. From there, experiment and practice to achieve the results that you imagine. As always, good day and happy clicking.

Effective use of Flash

As with any other technology knowing how it works behind the scenes and what your options are can help in better utilizing it for your advantage. Flash photography has been around for more than a hundred years. It started with a dangerous and manually controlled technology that used a powder that was lit by either fire or electrical current. These flash solutions were both dangerous and hard to use since the flash was not automatically synchronized to the camera’s shutter. Modern flash units use an electronic flash tube that is synchronized with the camera’s shutter. When turning the flash on the photographer does not need to worry about flash timing – the camera takes care of it automatically.

There are two types of flash units: Internal and External. The internal flash unit is built-in to your camera. It can be controlled through the camera’s menus. Some low end cameras only allow the use of their built-in units. Some low end cameras and all high end cameras also allow the attachment of an external flash unit. External flash units are either attached to the camera’s body through a dedicated slide-in slot or are connected to the camera using a cable. They vary in strength – how much light can they generate for how long – and in mechanical characteristics – can they be tilted or skewed or are they fixed in relation to the camera’s body. Regardless of the connection type external flash units are electronically connected to the camera and are synchronized with the shutter.

When setting your flash unit to automatic mode the camera fires the flash in scenarios where not enough light is available. Many times the camera will make a wrong judgment and will either fire or not fire the flash when the opposite was needed. Also in some scenarios the camera will not be able to tell that firing the flash will actually result in a better photo. One problem when using a flash is washed out photos. When the flash is too strong or the object is too close to the camera the result is a washed out photo there are not enough details and the object appears to be too white or too bright. Another problem is a photo with too many details: in some scenarios the flash can create artificial shadows and lights which result in a photo that includes details that are exaggerated relative to their appearance in real life. For example when taking a photo of an older person skin wrinkles and imperfections can look much worse than they really are in real life.

It is important to know the limitations of the flash unit. Any flash unit has a certain amount of light that it can generate. Usually this amount can be translated to an effective range for using the flash. When trying to take a photo with the object too far – more than the flash unit range – the object will appear dark. When trying to take a photo with the object too close to the camera the object will be washed out or too white. It is important to know your flash range and make sure that your object is within that range.

If you need to take a photo with your objects not within your flash unit range it is better to turn off the flash completely and use a tripod with long exposure. Using the flash in such scenarios can fool the camera into setting a high shutter speed which results in a photo darker than a photo taken without using the flash at all.

In some scenarios the camera will not automatically fire the flash although using the flash would have resulted in a much better photo. One such scenario is taking a photo during day time when the object is shadowed. For example if the object is wearing a hat the hat can block the light from the object’s face or when the object is lit from the side the object’s nose can block the light creating a shadow. In such scenarios the flash unit can be set to “fill in” mode. The flash will be fired to fill-in those shadowed areas but it will not be fired strong enough to wash out the photo.

Another scenario is when the sun is behind the object. One example is taking a photo on the beach against a sunset. If taken without a fill-in flash the result will most likely be a silhouette of the object. If taken with a fill-in flash and the object in range the result will be a clear photo of the object against a sunset.

Think About When Buying Camera Bags

When you start shopping for camera bags, the first thing you will notice is how many of them you have to choose from. It can be downright overwhelming, but the more you look the more you will see that you can narrow your options just by size and shape and type. There are going to be some bags that just aren’t attractive to your sense of style.

A shoulder bag is one of the most common types of camera bags on the market today. These are those bags that are attached to strap and then worn on the shoulder. This is a great type of bag if you want to be able to access your equipment relatively quickly because it’s all right there where you can reach in just a moments notice. If you have a larger camera, you may find that a shoulder bag gets big and bulky pretty quickly, so you need to determine whether or not this is right for you and the type of photography you are involved in and how much you will be moving.

Camera backpacks are also very popular. These are backpacks that are developed with the camera in mind so that there is plenty of padding to protect your camera no matter where you go. This is a great option if you have a larger SLR camera or something of the sort, because you won’t have to worry about a bulky bag swinging and hanging form your shoulder. You won’t be able to access your camera quite as quickly, but if you’re not in an urban setting, you may not need to have quick access to the camera, making this an ideal bag for you.

When shopping for camera bags, you might want to look into lens bags. These are bags that are meant specifically for the extra lenses that you may purchase for your camera. If you don’t have extra lenses, you obviously won’t need to make this purchase, but if you do have extra lenses you may find that these bags are just what you need to protect your investments while also ensuring that you can keep all of your photography components organized.

Shooting Winter Landscapes

  • Wear the right clothes: It’s very important to wrap up warm when out shooting winter images. The winter season brings the toughest elements, so if you are planning to spend a few days out and about always be well prepared.
  • Watch the weather: It’s very important to know what the weather is going to be like. You don’t want to travel for a couple of hours and then hear a weather report that tells you that: the weather is wet for the next few days. During the winter months the weather can dramatically change in a matter of hours. It’s always advisable to let someone know where you are going and which route you’re planning to take. If you do get injured or ever caught in a storm someone may be able to help.
  • Carry only what you need: Carry only the essentials. You don’t need to upload your camera bag with every piece of equipment you own. If you are going to be out taking pictures all day you are much better off going as light as possible. Carrying a light load will also help preserve energy. You could be climbing icy rocks or crossing snow filled hills; a warm flask would serve you a lot better than a third camera.
  • Look for detail: Snow, ice and frost bring out texture and atmosphere in most subjects. The early frosty morning is an ideal time for close-up photography. The frosty morning also brings out patterns in our landscapes. Take care where you place your camera: if you are taking pictures early in the morning try placing it at oblique angles to the sun – this will give your images strong shadows. This will also add mood to your landscape images. Once you have found the perfect spot pay extra attention to foreground interest as this will add depth to your image.
  • Expose carefully: Snow and ice are extremely difficult to expose properly. Snow usually confuses your cameras metering system or your hand held light meter. When you take a light reading from snow you will automatically get an underexposed image. The meter will record the snow as grey.

Wildlife Scouting Cameras

After a couple of years of using the camera I was very disappointed. The camera worked fine and we had many pictures of deer, but they were the same does and spike bucks that I was seeing during the day. Something must be wrong; I knew that there had to be big bucks stalking the hillsides at night. After all, everyone always said “you know there is a big one in there somewhere”.

After many rolls of film and an equal number of anxious trips to retrieve developed pictures, I came to realize that there simply were not any mystical trophy bucks roaming our property.

This scouting camera was the proof that I needed to convince myself that the problem was not nocturnal deer but it was actually a deer management problem.

In the eight years since that initial camera purchase I have gotten pictures of bucks that I had not seen, but this wasn’t until after I had implemented a quality deer management plan on our property. One thing is certain, if mature bucks are not on your property you will not get a picture of them and you will definitely not see them.

You can use your scouting camera pictures to get approximate buck to doe ratios simply by observing the ratios that are in the pictures. Also it is easier to estimate the quality of the bucks on your property once you have a picture that you can study. You will also get pictures of the other wildlife that make their homes on your property.

With a scouting camera you can practically perform 24 hour scouting, especially with the new digital scouting cameras. For those of us who work it is difficult to spend a lot of time scouting, but the camera can be your eyes.

A scouting camera cannot find bucks that are not there but they do a real good job of letting you know what is.

Where do you put your scouting camera? This is one of the fun parts of having a scouting camera. Deciding where to put the camera is just like deciding where to hunt.

The easiest way to get pictures of whitetail deer is to have something that attracts them. If you do this, a camera can take a lot of pictures in a short period of time. Be careful of your delay settings on your camera or you could get a lot of pictures of the same deer.

It is interesting to put the camera up at various places such as: well used trails, scrapes, rubs, food plots and minerals licks. I’m sure that you can think of a few places where you would like to know how much deer activity takes place.

Most scouting cameras have the ability to place the date and time on the photograph. This can be very helpful in determining the time of day the deer show up at your particular hotspot. I use it to let me know what time I have to be in the woods in the mornings so that I don’t have to get out of bed any earlier than I have to.

There are a few things that will help ensure that you will not be disappointed with your scouting camera.

Try not to place the camera where it is facing into either the rising or setting sun.

Clear weeds away from the front of the camera so that you do not get pictures of weeds swaying in the breeze.

Do not set your camera up too close or far away from where you expect the deer to travel. A camera set up on a tree within 3 feet of the trail is too close whereas most flashes cannot reach much beyond 30 feet or less.

Fresh batteries! It is very disappointing to find out that you didn’t get many pictures because your batteries have died. Rechargeable batteries are gaining popularity lately; I’m having good success using them with my digital scouting camera.

I advise buying a scouting camera that has a locking device. It would be too easy for someone to walk away with your camera if it is not locked.

I am using a digital scouting camera for the first time this year and highly recommend them. There are many advantages to the digital camera, in particular the capability of viewing your pictures right away.

The exciting part is seeing a picture of a nice buck that you didn’t know was on your property. These pictures help you get out of bed on those cold mornings and make you stay in your stand longer when you get bored. Get yourself a scouting camera and have fun with it.

Identify Landscape Photo Art

In my opinion, landscape photo art means creating a visual metaphor for a concept you have in mind, for a feeling within yourself. People often think that taking a landscape photo is a simple matter and that anyone can do it. But having a camera with you on a trip on the mountain and taking photos from time to time so that you’ll remember you’ve been there, has nothing to do with landscape photo art.

History indicates that it’s very difficult to become an “artist” in landscape photography. Besides the natural talent, you also need good equipment, much work and a lot of patience. Landscape photo art is not about taking photos, it’s about making them.

Good landscape photo equipment is quite expensive. If you can’t afford buying all the proper components from the beginning, you have to prioritize your budget into the lenses, as they are the essential equipment element in landscape photo art. You need prime lenses (with fixed focal length) and high quality zooms. The camera body must have internal meter and manual setting capability, for choosing the aperture and shutter speed. There is no need to mention that it is impossible to make a quality landscape photo without using a good tripod with a ball head. However, a good photographer can take excellent photos with any camera, the good equipment will only make photos even better, while a marginal photographer will not be able to take any good photos no matter how expensive the equipment might be.

Once you get the proper equipment, as a beginner in the landscape photo art, you can start thinking about what places you want to photograph, what kind of light suits your idea best, what kind of weather you want, and many other details.

For instance, if you want to photograph a mountain landscape, you must have in your mind the message you want to portray, the feeling that you want to share with those who will look at your photo. If you’re taking the photo on a bright summer day, people who the photo are much more likely to experience a pleasant feeling, or even strongly desire to go there. If you photograph the same landscape on a rainy or foggy day, the feelings you suggest are different but can sometimes lead to greater artistic license.

In order to transform “just taking photos” into landscape photo art, you also need to work a lot and to invest passion in what you’re doing. For instance, if you want to capture a sunrise in a specific location, you have to wake up before the sunrise and go there. Time becomes a consideration. Then you have to wait until the sky changes. It is at that moment when nature seems to wake up from its sleep and it this moment will last for less than a second perhaps. You have to capture that moment in your photograph to please and impress. Of course, it is possible not to get the result you hoped for from the first attempt, and then you have to check the weather forecast and get back the next day and try it again. And maybe the next day, instead of a sunrise, you will only see clouds and rain and you will have to return some other time. The idea is that you need a lot of patience and perseverance in landscape photo art.

A simple photograph may have the power of saving or destroying a place. Imagine you manage a great photo of the most beautiful and wild landscape you’ve ever seen. When people see your photograph, they may also want to go there to take pictures or just visit the location, this can eventually destroy wilderness and make it just a common landscape. Sometimes you should only share the image and keep the geographic details to yourself in landscape photo art – many professionals practice exactly that.

Glamour Photography

Glamour Photography is not that Much Different from Traditional

Have you ever been to a seminar about how lighting affects photography? You might imagine some exotic lighting solutions to get amazing improvements in glamour photography. When you take a closer look you will see the lighting can come from a very make-shift lighting source. There are guidelines but not rules. With only a few modifications to the traditional lighting techniques, you can create amazing results

Background to Use for Glamour Photography

You can set up a background or use nature for your glamour photography. The background can be attached to a pole that works as a stand. This makes the background mobile.

Start Today Creating Your Own Glamour Photography

By knowing the rules first, the experience gained will give you a more creative eye. If the rule is not getting the artistic result you want, veer slightly from the rule. This is what most artists in any medium do. They begin from the foundation of rules and veer from them until gradually they have created their own unique methods.

Benefits of Disposable Cameras

Disposable cameras are called “single-use” or “one-time” cameras. You can get both digital and film disposable cameras. They’re available almost everywhere, from your local camera store to the grocery store. These cameras take all the work, worry and fuss out of picture taking and leave pure enjoyment. The photo quality is often quite good, and the point-and-shoot nature of almost all disposable cameras mean that you can capture those moments that are missed as you fiddle with all the buttons and wires and the 100+ pages of detailed instructions in your expensive camera’s owner’s manual. Additionally, when you point a little plastic camera at someone, the reaction you get will likely be very different; people are disarmed, more casual and open.

There are a wide variety of Disposable Cameras on the market — and many uses for them, too. Most models come with a rear monitor to view images. They are fully automatic, including the flash (if they have one), usually have a self-timer, and occasionally have an image-delete function. Prices for a camera with the capability for 25 or 27 pictures range from $9 to $19. These prices may or may not include processing, which adds around $10. You can get cheaper prices if you buy in wholesale in quantity or buy without a flash. They can be as inexpensive as $2.00 each!

Most models will yield an image of sufficient quality that it can be blown up to an 8 X 10 inch print, but not all. Some models that are under $10 create overexposed flash images when used with the camera’s short flash range (only 4 feet to 8 feet). Another drawback with some of the cheaper models especially is that the viewfinder can be difficult to see through. Typically, even the more expensive versions make you wait between flashes, limiting how many pictures you can take in a given period of time.

Many disposable cameras have a rear monitor that lets you delete the image you just took. However, on most of these, you cannot scroll through the photos you have taken, or use the screen to frame a photo. On some of the less expensive models, the delete function is useless because there is no rear monitor to see what you are deleting.

Both the film disposable camera and the digital disposable camera are convenient and fun, but if you are looking for professional results or a variety of options, stick with the higher end film or digital cameras. And if you shoot photos on a regular basis, it’s cheaper in the long run to purchase a regular, non-disposable camera even if you pay to process the prints.

However, having the option to take a disposable camera with you on a family vacation, work party or wedding can be great. Sometimes you don’t want to take an expensive camera on a trip for fear it will be stolen, you’ll leave it behind, or it might get broken — an alternative solution comes in the form of the less expensive but perfectly serviceable disposable camera. You get the photos you want without the worry you don’t need.

Macro Photography

A practical way for defining macro photography is by the strength of the lens, or how nearby it can focus. For true macro photography, you’ll want to have a lens that focuses down to a 1:1 range. For example,for 35mm film,your camera has to have the ability to focus on an area at least as small as 24×36mm ,because this is the size of the image on the film.After having the film developed,the picture of the subject on the negative or slide will be exactly the same size as the subject photographed.

What makes macro photography seductive is the level of detail that you see, sometimes for the first time – familiar objects become unusual and abstract and unusual objects become even more interesting.

There are many applications for macro photography: flowers,plants,butterflies, minerals,snowflakes… Your own backyard, a local garden,beach or forest can provide you with hours of fun with macro photography.

Of course macro photography isn’t always centred on the natural world. Collectors use macro photography to record coins,stamps and other collectibles that are very small.Some people use macro photography for documenting their possessions for insurance purposes or to illustrate their auction listings online.

Working with macro photography can be a whole new visual event for even the most advanced photographers.Every day can yield another subject and an endless supply of captivating images.The possibilities of macro photography are limited only by your imagination.

If you are interested in macro photography, then by all means consider purchasing a dedicated macro lens.SLR digital cameras with interchangeable lenses are ideal for macro photography.If you’re primarily interested in outdoor photography, consider a 180mm or 200mm macro lens.

Alternatively you can use extension tubes,reversing rings, or close-up diopter lens.

An extension tube is placed between the camera body and the lens. There is no glass in the tube – its purpose is to move the lens farther from the film (or digital sensor) so that magnification can be bigger.

Reversing ring is attached on the front of a lens and makes it possible to attach the lens in reverse.

Close-up diopter lens are placed in front of the camera’s main lens. These screw-in or slip-on attachments provide close focusing at very low cost.However,the quality of the pictures is variable.

Shooting Interiors

  • Use a wide angle lens. Shooting wide can make the room look great, especially when in Hong Kong, the size of the property is most likely less than 100 sq. meters. In a confined space, sitting tight into one corner while you try to get the other three corners in just looks wrong. You shouldn’t shoot all three walls into one picture. Showing the highlights of the interior design features is important. About the lens, anything in the 16-24mm range on full frame (or the APS-C equivalent which equates to 10-16mm approx. on some less expensive camera) is great. I often use 17mm full frame for my wide interior work.Tip 3: Sufficient indoor and natural lighting are both important. Light up the room. If there is good natural light coming through the windows, use that as well. Adjust the overall feeling of the lighting to a balanced and optimized level.
  • Find the best angle. Take time to explore different angles to shoot from. Decorate the room with small artistic items, plants or anything you like to add a bit of creativity. We can’t all afford a tilt-shift lens to keep perspective in check, so it’s a really good idea to shoot with the camera at or slightly above mid-room height. This means you can keep the camera aimed out straight to keep the walls vertical. While the perspective distortion you get can be corrected in post-production, it’s much easier to get it right in camera. This is another reason to use a tripod as well.
  • Use post-processing software, e.g. Photoshop or Lightroom. You should bring the Highlights down and open up the Shadows. Next bring the Blacks down to ensure that the contrast lost from opening up the Shadows doesn’t impact the image too much.